Drystone dyking training day

Castletown Heritage Society operates the Castlehill Heritage Centre as an educational resource for visitors, local students and school children and the local community. Through a programme of interpretive exhibitions and interactive workshops, we seek to stimulate and sustain interest in and understanding of the history, heritage, vernacular skills, biodiversity and physical environment of Castletown and the parish of Olrig. Our aim is to preserve and maintain the unique heritage of our community within both local Caithness and broader Highland contexts.

To see events and activities from previous years, click here:

2012 2013 2015 2016 2017

Guided village walk


All events take place in Castlehill Heritage Centre unless otherwise stated

Event detail colour key - those highlighted in GREEN are confirmed, those in GREY are yet to be confirmed

(Completed 2019 events in BLUE at bottom of listing)


Open from 2pm to 4pm every Wed, Sat and Sun afternoon

(Closed on Sat 21 Sept for a private function)

Flagstone Exhibition

Our very popular summer exhibition returns, featuring themed displays of artefacts, photographs and stories exploring the fascinating industrial and social history of the Flagstone Industry in Caithness.


Open from 2pm to 4pm every Wed, Sat and Sun afternoon

(Closed on Sat 21 Sept for a private function)

Exhibition - Our Maritime Heritage

A small, but fascinating exhibition exploring our local maritime heritage, including artefacts, stories, charts and models, from the 16th century to the modern day.

Open from 2pm to 4pm every Wed, Sat and Sun afternoon

(Closed on Sat 21 Sept for a private function)

WWII Rolls-Royce Merlin Engine

One of our most popular 'permanent' exhibits is the WWII Rolls-Royce Merlin engine that was recovered from a Caithness bog in 1990. The engine belonged to a RAF Hurricane that was stationed at RAF Castletown in August 1941, and was involved in a mid-air collision during a training flight. The story of the recovery of the engine, the original incident and the subsequent exploits of the Norwegian pilot, Lt Jens Muller of 331 Squadron, is quite incredible. As a taster, Muller was one of only three servicemen to successfully make it home following the Great Escape in 1944 from Stalag Luft III! This exhibit with it's incredible back story is not to be missed!

Monday evenings

7 - 9pm

Sessions restart after summer

Castlehill Artists

Our very popular painting workshop with Helen Moore.

Sessions run from 7pm - 9pm on Monday evenings at a cost of £8 per evening plus materials. Juniors and OAPs £5. Beginners are especially welcome. Sessions currently resting for the summer holidays - watch this space for restart date.

To find out more and register interest, click HERE



4, 11, 18, 25


2pm - 4pm

Cream Teas at Castlehill

Returning by popular demand, on every Sunday in August we will be serving Cream Teas at Castlehill.

Delicious home made scones and cakes. Guaranteed to get the taste buds dancing!

A perfect way to complement a Sunday afternoon stroll round the Flagstone trail or a meander round the amazing Heritage Garden. £3.50 per person.

Sunday 25 August

2pm - 4pm

North Highland Woodturners Open Day

The North Highland Woodturners Association will be holding their annual Open Day at Castlehill Heritage Centre on Sunday 25 August. Come along and learn about the craft and have a go under supervision, making your own small item to take home with you. Entry free!

Sat 14 September

9.30am - 3.30pm

Smithing/Metalworking workshop

Learn the craft of metal working using traditional skills. Hands-on, full day workshop - suitable for beginners and more experienced practitioners.

Cost: £20 - payable on booking. Includes instruction, materials and protective equipment. Bring own packed lunch - tea/coffee provided.

*** Please note that these workshops are extremely popular and currently only one place is available. If you wish to take part please reserve your place as soon as possible. *** We will be operating a standby list.

The dates for any future smithing workshops will be announced on this website, and advertised locally.

Sunday 13 October

11am - 3pm

Crochet Workshop

A hands-on workshop for beginners led by Ruan Peat exploring the skills and techniques of crochet. You will learn the basic stitch and how to make "granny squares" from which it is possible to create a blanket, hat, pot holder, purse, tote bag and much more.

Cost: 10.00 payable on booking. This includes tuition, tools, materials and patterns. Bring a packed lunch, tea/coffee & biscuits provided.

To find out more and register interest in attending this workshop please click HERE.

Thursday 26 December

2pm to 4pm

Boxing Day Mulled Wine & Mince Pies

Join us at Castlehill Heritage Centre for mulled wine, mince-meat pies and a good going chinwag on our traditional festive Boxing Day opening.

Always a popular event!


Tue 12 Feb


The Life and Times of Frances Purves

The first in our traditional series of Winter Talks got underway on Tuesday 12 February.

From Castletown lass to Australian pioneer - Muriel Murray will reveal the fascinating story of the life and times of Frances Purves from Thurdistoft.

Tue 26 Mar


Escape and Evade

An evening talk by F/Lt Don Mason RAF RV(Ret) BEM entitled Evade and Escape. Don Mason is a WWII veteran who took part in the war as a pilot and navigator, racking up almost 5,000 flying hours in operations over Europe. Ninety-eight year old Don has a fascinating story to tell about an operatives duty to evade capture, and then escape if the worst happened. He will focus in particular on the escape lines developed from Belgium through Spain and across the Pyrenees. Not to be missed!

Sat 20 & Sun 21 Apr

2pm - 4pm

Basket Making Demonstration

Artist and basketmaker Tim Johnson will be visiting Castletown Heritage Centre for the fourth time over the Easter weekend for a special reason! On a previous visit he discovered this special basket in the little Thurso museum 'The Way it Was'.With a little research and comparing the basket to others in museums and collections around Europe it seems this basket is very special and it's weaving technique is not normally thought of as Scottish or British.

Made from locally harvested rushes the basket was perhaps used for gathering eggs or to take on a fishing trip to carry bait - have you seen one similar? Do you know anyone who used to make them? Have you got any old photographs of similar baskets in use? Can you tell us anything about them? We would love to hear from you.

Tim will be making and demonstrating at Castletown Heritage Centre on Saturday and Sunday 20th and 21st April 2019 - all welcome.

If you have any information please contact Muriel Murray at the Castletown Heritage Centre: castletown.heritage@talk21.com or Tim Johnson: boatbaskets@gmail.com for assistance. [Photo copyrhight T Johnston]

Tue 23 Apr


The Caithness Broch Project

Our third talk will be on Tuesday 23rd April as part of our AGM and will be given by Kenneth McElroy on the Caithness Broch Project, which aims to construct a replica Broch structure to help interpret the county's rich Iron Age history. More details to follow.

Tuesday 23 April


Castletown Heritage Society AGM

The Annual General Meeting of the Castletown Heritage Society will be held in Castlehill Heritage Centre on Tuesday 23 April at 7.30pm.

The guest speaker for the evening will be Kenneth McElroy who will talk about the Caithness Broch Project, which aims to build a replica Broch structure to promote the county's rich Iron Age history.

All members, friends and associates welcome.

See NEWS page for report of AGM

Open from 2pm to 4pm every Wed, Sat and Sun afternoon

Exhibition - Formidable Females

Our Formidable Females exhibition featuring a selection of inspiring local women from our past is proving extremely popular. Our exhibition features stories and portraits of matriarchs, women pioneers, women in business, in farming, in education, in military and civil service, all revealing the inner strength of northern females, whatever their station in life.


4, 11 & 18 May

10am - 12pm

Pottery Bowl Workshops

Following the highly successful pottery workshops held last year a further series of three hands-on traditional skills pottery workshops will be held in May 2019.

These highly popular workshops are quickly fully booked - advance booking and payment of £30 in full for the three sessions is essential.

If sufficient interest is shown we may organise a further workshop for those new to pottery later in the year. To find out more and register interest please click HERE.

Open from 2pm to 4pm every Wed, Sat and Sun afternoon

Exhibition - Pastimes from Past Times

The theme for the latest exhibition is 'Pastimes from Past Times' and explores how local people spent their leisure hours in times gone by. From sport to music, handicrafts, and everything in between, the exhibition features articles, photographs and artefacts from recent times to a bygone age.

Open from 2pm to 4pm every Wed, Sat and Sun afternoon

Exhibition - McIvor and Allan

McIvor & Allan, Wood Chip Carvers were based in Castletown. Their skill and craftsmanship is brought to life through this fascinating display, which includes examples of their exquisite, locally made products, the quality and popularity of which led to exports all around the world.

Sat 1, Sat 8 & Sat 15


1.30pm - 3.30pm

Millinery workshops

A series of three hands-on workshops led by Lindsay Broomfield on the design and production of hats and headwear, with a focus on local vernacular skills.

Advance booking and payment of £30 in full for the three sessions is essential.

Wed 26 June

Display opens 6.30pm

Talk starts 7.00pm

Their Past - Your Future

A truly fascinating display and slide show presentation by ninety-eight year old F/Lt D Mason RAFVR (Ret) BEM, about his experiences and exploits as a bomber pilot and navigator during WWll.

Sat 13 July

9.30am - 3.30pm

Smithing/Metalworking workshop

Learn the craft of metal working using traditional skills. Hands-on, full day workshop. Following the popularity of the two highly successful smithing workshops held in 2018, this workshop is suitable for beginners and more experienced practitioners.


Watch this space for confirmed dates and further details, alternatively:

CONTACT US by email or phone 01847 821120

To book a place on an event, email or phone as above

Please ensure you make it clear which event you wish to book!